UM coach Al Golden said he believes rising junior quarterback Stephen Morris, who underwent back surgery before spring practice began, would be able to play today if there were a real game. Of course, Morris didn't partake in any of the 13 spring sessions -- other than his recent involvement in more individualized drills and some route-throwing.
However, the fact that coaches believe Morris is ahead of schedule and will be back full force in the fall, should be a huge sigh of relief to Hurricanes fans. One way or the other, there needs to be a strong competition this summer between Memphis transfer Ryan Williams and Morris, and hopefully one will materialize.
Fisch did say that none of the quarterbacks will be hit until the first game.
“Our quarterbacks will not get hit until the first game of the season,’’ Fisch said. “They will not get touched. There will be nobody near them. Sometimes, there’s some accidental contact, which we’re trying to avoid right now. Come training camp we won’t be worrying about that. We feel really good about where he’s at and we feel like he’ll be 100-percent fine for the season.’’
Morris agreed with Fisch about learning a lot from the sidelines of the past 13 practices. "Seeing the game from the sidelines, I can see exactly what Coach Fisch is talking about. I see a lot of the reads that Coach Fisch points out on film. It makes you study harder and know the answer to every question they ask and know the offense inside and out.''
Rashawn Scott told me Morris is back to throwing the ball at least 60 yards when he wants to.
* Linebacker Jimmy Gaines was wearing a boot on his left foot Tuesday and is not expected to compete in Saturday's spring game (2-4 p.m.) at Sun Life Stadium. The game is free and open to the public.
*...Scott said Williams will be the orange team quarterback for the spring game, and Gray Crow and Preston Dewey will lead the green. He said running backs Eduardo Clements and Mike James will compete for the orange, with Darris Hughes and Dallas Crawford on the green team.
Scott said he and fellow receivers Phillip Dorsett and Kendal Thompkins will wear orange, with Shawn O’Dare, Garrett Kidd and Dallas Crawford (who will alternate between running back and slot receiver) on green. He said defensive end Anthony Chickillo will compete for the green team, and he thinks middle linebacker Denzel Perryman will wear green as well.
Golden on Ryan Williams: "I think he's really smart and I think he anticipates throws. He releases the ball before the receivers are open, which means it is slower in his mind. He doesn't have much panic in him...''
DC Mark D'Onofrio is looking forward to the return of linebacker Ramon Buchanan (torn ACL), and said Buchanan will be over 230 pounds at the start of the season.
When asked what safety Vaughn Telemaque must to do to win back his starting job, D'Onofrio said, "Work to be the same guy every day. You can't flash [only] one day.'' Telemaque will have that much more competition when Deon Bush and Tracy Howard arrive.
Telemaque said Tuesday that he feels he is improving. "We have to catch the balls they throw to us, execute our defense, run our plays the way we need to run them.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN